Monday, October 13, 2014

Loss but not lost

"One of the lights has gone out," I remarked as I walked down the sidewalk to the car. This in reference to the solar landscape lights we placed along the walk. The gravity of my statement soaked into my head as I settled into the front seat. A sweet friend of mine died this morning. She was expecting her sixth child, a daughter.

We rushed to the home where she had lived for several years with her husband and five children. Where she had welcomed two new babies to the family. Where she breathed for the last time. She was a member of a very large, very tight extended family. When we arrived, there were cousins and sisters and aunts crying and bustling around the kitchen. Brothers and fathers and friends were milling around the yard and porch and den whispering and hugging and eating. All of the kids -- siblings and cousins -- were running around the yard with the dogs and chickens. They were picking up sticks and sword fighting, teasing the cow, and petting the horses. Every time someone new arrived, there would be hugs and tears and explanations.

I find so much comfort in the gathering after someone dies. Everyone is drawn to the home or family home, where they lean on each other and eat lots of fried chicken. There's always a few people in the kitchen making food or cleaning up. Then another in the washroom doing laundry. And there's always  a group of people insulating the bereaved, so they don't have to keep telling the same story over and over.

I've cried and hugged and nodded and comforted throughout the morning. I can't believe someone so young and healthy was taken so quickly. This kind of loss makes me question a lot of things. Someone said she's in a better place. I would say the best place would be here, with the kids who need her and the family that loves her. There is a big gaping hole left in the fabric of this family. One that cannot be easily filled by friends and well-wishers. Not long-term anyway.

I am the kind of person that doesn't need platitudes. I need to connect with the loss and let it turn me inside out and rip out my guts. I have to feel. I can't ice myself to numbness and think about it tomorrow. I've lost many loved ones, and all the things people say just set my teeth on edge. I don't need to feel better, I just need to get to the acceptance part. For me, numbing puts off healing. But sometimes people don't know what to say, so they let the first thing fly out of their mouth. I guess it's comforting for them to talk about it. And who am I to tell anyone how to grieve?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A little rain...

Things are settling down nicely at the new house. I still have some boxes that I haven't unpacked, but after a couple of months, I haven't really needed anything in those boxes. Can't I just toss them? Well, after I find my other sneaker, perhaps.
Another member of the zoo has flown the coop. On August 17, our daughter Em married her sweetheart, Isaac. Their wedding was the coolest event I've ever been to, and I look forward to posting pictures soon (ahem). The theme was a vintage picnic, and we even had the Ice Cream Girl bring her truck for the reception. A good time was had by all.
So Isaac and Em wasted no time, they found out a baby was on the way a few weeks ago. Sadly, Sweet Pea didn't stay with us long enough to get to say hello before we had to say goodbye. We are all very sad and low since we heard the news, and would appreciate prayers for the family and for Em's safe recovery.
We had already started coming up with baby names and what we would like to be called as the grandparents. I'm not sure what to call myself at all now. In my opinion, Em and Isaac are no less Mommy and Daddy than they were when we were anticipating Pea's arrival. So I suppose I'm still a grandparent, even though the little bundle is waiting to meet us in Heaven.
As a doula, I've walked with a lot of people through losses. It wasn't foreign for me to watch impatiently on the ultrasound hoping to see something there bouncing around with a strong heartbeat, and to realize that there was nothing to see. I always thought that I was just as invested in a client's situation as I would be with any family member, and whenever there was bad news, I grieved with them. I guess it is a lot different when you're trying to support your daughter who is expecting her first baby, and your first grandbaby. I carried her for nine months and walked the floor with her nights. Her Dad and I wiped her tears, kissed her boo-boos, and bought her first bicycle (probably not in that order). I thought that I could protect her from any monster in her closet, or any mean girl on the cheerleading squad. Certainly with all my knowledge about childbirth and babies, I could keep her from having any troubles in that department. Knowledge isn't always power.
So here we are trying to keep our chins up and our eyes dry until we can get home and lay in bed and howl about it. There's nothing that anyone can say to make this feel better. I don't want anyone to say anything, really. When I get home tonight, I'd like a gallon of chocolate covered cherry ice cream, a spoon, and some cheesy movies. I'd like to crawl up in my bed with my entire family and just veg. We'll be OK eventually, I guess we just need permission to not be OK for a little bit.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Catching up

OOOPS! It's been almost a year since I've posted. Sorry about that! The zoo has been quite busy lately. Since my last post, I've become a MOTHER IN LAW!!! I love my daughter in law so much, and I am so happy she's joined our family. She loves my Josh, and she is an awesome fit with our crazy bunch. Also, all of my kids are in double digits! I can't believe all my babies are 10 and up now. So now I have 4 boys aged 20, 19, 13, and 11. And my two girls are 17 and 10.
We've managed to avoid the ER for a good while now. I think the last visit was when Zion severed two tendons in his pinky finger with a knife he found in the yard. Yeah, I know, but when you spread all these IQ points over six kids, someone gets the short end of the stick. (I'm totally kidding, he's quite smart most of the time!) Kids do crazy things, and you try to glue them back together as best you can. Sometimes you need a professional's help. Dr. Rehak did a great job getting him working again, and his progress has been even better than predicted.
The big news here lately is that WE'VE BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE!!! YES! I'm thrilled, we found a great place on a few acres with a barn for our soon-to-be hobby farm. I want chickens and goats and maybe some guineas. SO I will be asking everyone I know for advice on getting the right animals and keeping them all alive and kickin' soon. Also, anyone trying to get a medical degree while juggling all this stuff can definitely pipe in any time they like.
We've been really interested in living a more sustainable life. I'm not a doomsday prepper or an off-the-grid hippie (although I respect those folks and their dedication), but I do want to get a little less processed and more organic. Hubby and I have been trying to shed some weight and get more healthy. We are both exercising (well we WERE doing really well before spring semester started) and eating healthier. We are hoping that we will be able to provide fresh veggies and eggs with our little farm one day soon.
So that's what's been happening here, I'll try to keep up a little better in the future. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I gave up soap. Really.

So I came to the conclusion that EVERYTHING I put on my face was messing me up. I did an experiment, and I'm convinced that I didn't have a problem with my skin. My skin had a problem with anything that I put on it. I decided to take a few days and just rinse it with water and see what would happen. My skin cleared up is what happened. I don't put ANYTHING on my face, and it's the best it has looked in ages. So there. I don't need soap on my face.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


So my experiment with OCM has been put on hold for a bit. I had surgery yesterday on my foot, and couldn't put anything on my face the night before. So I'm hoping to resume OCM tonight before bed. I'm just hoping to be able to wash ANYTHING today. I am not allowed to get my feet wet, and we only have a shower in our bathroom as our bathtub had leaky supply lines and is yet to be repaired. I'm thinking I'm going to put my foot in a bag really soon, as I don't like skipping showers for two days in a row. YUK! So stay tuned. I know there are millions out there waiting for my results...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Finals week sometimes finds me falling into bed in my clothes without having done any kind of hygiene upkeep before passing out. That was me when I woke up this morning. So I was a little hesitant to use the OCM this morning because you're supposed to do it at bedtime. But the thought of smearing soap on my face that very much needed some attention was not comforting. So I did OCM this morning before my shower. I have seen a bit of improvement in my skin. I don't have the dry patches that I usually have on my cheeks because I normally use such harsh stuff to try to control my oily t-zone. My skin feels soft and smooth without feeling greasy. I don't have any new blemishes at all, and the ones that I had when I started are almost all gone. The bumps and redness I had on my cheeks are almost completely gone, and no signs of anything new sprouting up there. Yesterday I had used the baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair, and I think I must have not rinsed the baking soda out of the ends of my hair thoroughly. The ends of my hair felt like straw all day yesterday and it was driving me crazy. This morning when I washed my hair I had forgotten to refill the baking soda "shampoo" bottle, so I just washed with my usual nexxus stuff. I'll start over tomorrow again and try to do a better job. I seriously need a trim too. Anyway, there's the latest update. Back to the books!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 2

I got up this morning, expecting a giant greasy oil slick on my face. But surprise! My skin felt nice and clean. So I just rinsed with water in the shower and didn't put any soap on my face. It has been fine all day with no grimy feeling or mid-day oil slick. So I did ocm again before bedtime. And it still feels nice. I also started with the no shampoo this morning. The baking soda shampoo cleaned my hair great, and the apple cider vinegar conditioned and detangled better than the Paul Mitchell I usually use. And I didn't feel like my hair was heavy and icky all day like it does when I skip shampooing it sometimes. So far I'm very happy. I'll try to keep up through the rest of the week, but I do have finals this week. Ciao!